small, foxlike Schipperke is known for its
mischievous expression and distinctive black
coat, which stands off from the body and is
harsh to the touch. This enthusiastic, joyful,
and sometimes willful dog has a thickset and
cobby body, and lacks a tail. Although
historically a watchdog and vermin hunter, today
this ageless breed enjoys competing in
conformation, agility and obedience, often well
into its teens.
The Schipperke originated in the Flemish regions
of Belgium, bred down in size from a black
sheepdog called the Leauvenaar. The breed worked
as a companion of tradesmen as well as a
watchdog and ratter on the river barges, which
is where they got the name "Schipperke" since
the Flemish word "schip" means boat. Another
common nickname for the Schipperke is "Little
The Schipperke is curious,
interested in everything around him, and is an
excellent and faithful little watchdog. He is
reserved with strangers and ready to protect his
family and property if necessary. He displays a
confident and independent personality,
reflecting the breed's original purpose as
watchdog and hunter of vermin.
The dog is square in profile and possesses a
distinctive coat, which includes a stand-out
ruff, cape and culottes. All of these create a
unique silhouette, appearing to slope from
shoulders to croup. Males are decidedly
masculine without coarseness.
Right Breed for You?
The Schipperke is extremely active and loves to
be involved in what is going on around him, but
due to their watchdog tendencies, they can turn
into barkers if not taught otherwise. Equally
happy in an apartment or a home with a large
yard, they should be kept on leash when not in a
fenced area and be taken to obedience classes.
The breed's coat needs only weekly brushing and
an occasional bath, although they do shed
several times a year.
If you are considering purchasing a Schipperke
puppy, learn more here.
• Non-Sporting Group; AKC recognized in 1904.
• Ideal size: 10 to 13 inches tall at the
• Watchdog; companion.
© The American Kennel Club, Inc.